Writing Thursday: Out Of The Nest; or, I Submitted My Story!

Sorry for the long absence on the writing front.  Things got a little busy around here.

So when we last talked, I was getting ready to submit my novel, The Daughters of August Winterbourne, to the Strange Chemistry Open Door (note: not sure how long the page will remain up, but it’s still there for now).  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, and “open door” is when a publisher that usually only accepts agented submissions invites everyone and anyone to submit.

Well, in this case, they weren’t looking for just anyone.  They were looking for Young Adult books that are sci-fi, fantasy, or horror.  And while The Daughters of August Winterbourne wasn’t specifically written to be a YA novel, it certainly could work for that market (and in fact, one fourteen-year-old who has read it seems to have enjoyed it), and it definitely qualifies as sci-fi/fantasy.  So I decided to give it a shot.

This involved writing a cover letter, a synopsis, and a summary of my inspirations/aspirations regarding the book, the latter two of which were supposed to fit on two pages (no more, no less).

Now, writing a back-cover blurb of a paragraph or two isn’t hard; I’ve done it for this story, in fact.  But coming up with a synopsis that includes all of the major characters and plot points, including how the story ends, in under two pages–and for a novel of 125,000 words–is much harder.

Oddly, the table of contents I created a few weeks ago (and blogged about) helped a lot.  Because when I finished, I scanned over the table of contents, and that helped remind me of plot points I needed to include–and helped me weed out what didn’t really need to be included in the synopsis.

In the end, I managed to pare the story down to an 1,100-word synopsis.  I’m not going to post it here, because a) it’s a bit long for a blog entry, and b) reading it would spoil the book for everyone, and I have hopes that at least some of you might be interested in reading it someday.

It’ll more than likely be a couple of months before I hear anything back on that, of course.  I haven’t seen any stats on how many submissions they received, but it’ll still probably take them a while to work their way through that pile. But if/when I hear something back from them, I’ll let everyone know.

In the meantime, I’m continuing to edit Book 2 and write Book 3.  I’m also currently working on a short story (not my preferred format, but I’m giving it a try!).  I’ll probably also try submitting the story to some agents, to see if anyone’s interested.

But for everyone who’s been asking when I was finally going to getting around to submitting one of my stories to a publisher, well, now I have.  (And it’s a pretty good feeling, I’ve got to admit.)

Has anyone else ever submitted work directly to a publisher, or through an “open door” event like this one?  What were your experiences?


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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